- Preparation of the EIS has been Suspended
The Houston Airport System (HAS) asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to delay the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) because the proposed airport improvements being evaluated in the EIS may no longer meet the needs of the Airport. The proposed airport improvements were based upon recommendations in the 2006 HAS Master Plan for George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). Since 2006, there have been significant changes at IAH and within the aviation industry as a whole that may impact the planning assumptions used to develop the Master Plan. These changes include:
• The United-Continental Merger - the potential merger of these two airlines to create the world’s largest airline would certainly change the utilization of IAH, which is currently a major hub for Continental. These changes would impact both the anticipated aircraft fleet and forecast of future operations;
• The economic downturn and the impact to the anticipated forecast of future operations;
• Regional jet activity is anticipated to be replaced with larger aircraft thereby impacting the anticipated aircraft fleet; and
• The terminal concept included in the Master Plan needs to be updated to a more affordable and buildable concept and may impact the number of available gates planned for future operations.
Thus, the HAS determined that additional planning work would be necessary to ensure that the assumptions used in the 2006 Airport Master Plan remain valid. The HAS subsequently sent a letter to the FAA on July 30, 2010, requesting that the on-going EIS be suspended in order to re-evaluate development needs for the Airport. Based on this request, the FAA suspended the preparation of the EIS for proposed airport improvements at IAH and issued a notice in the Federal Register to advise federal, state, and local government agencies and the public of the suspension. The duration of the suspension of the EIS is unknown; however, it will likely be at least a year. This Web site will be updated as more information becomes available regarding the length of the suspension. Also, when the preparation of the EIS resumes, the FAA will issue another notice in the Federal Register and post a notice on this Web site.